US to sell $1.3B worth of arms to Taiwan
The U.S. confirmed late on Thursday it could sell billions of dollars' worth of arms to Taiwan for the first time under Donald Trump's presidency.
In a move which will spur anger in Beijing, materiel valued at $1.3 billion will be sold. This will be the first such sale since $1.83-billion worth of weapons were sold to Taiwan under former U.S. President Barack Obama in 2015, according to the State Department.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the Trump administration had notified Congress of its intent to approve seven proposed deals.
The decision now requires congressional approval. Lawmakers, which are generally strongly supportive of such sales, have 30 days to object.
Nauert said the approvals did not violate the Taiwan Relations Act which governs U.S. contacts with the island.
"It shows, we believe, our support for Taiwan's ability to maintain a sufficient self-defense policy," Nauert told reporters. "There's no change, I should point out, to our 'one-China' policy."
China's ambassador to the U.S., Cui Tiankai, criticized the U.S. decision, saying recent moves had eroded the trust built when Trump met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida in April.
According to a U.S. defense source in Washington, the sales include $400 million in early-warning radar equipment, plus torpedoes, missiles and components.
Donald Trump sparked controversy in December 2016 when he held a phone call with Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen, reportedly the first such direct contact since 1979.